Amid the situation created by the spread of pandemic, the last day of the Wangala, the annual festival of the Garos culminated to the sound of 30 drums beating in rhythmic sync to the swaying of the nimble footed maidens, captivating both the native and the visitor alike.
Meghalaya Legislative Assembly Speaker, Metbah Lyngdoh, inaugurated the grand finale yesterday in the presence of Ferlin C A Sangma, Chairman, Meghalaya State Council on Climate Change and Sustainable Development as the guest of honour at Chibragre village few kilometers away from Asanang under West Garo Hills.
Hailing the Wangala Committee for their endeavour to preserve the rich culture of the Garos through this festival, Lyngdoh congratulated the organisers for their hard work to make sure that the Wangala festival is always a successful event inspite of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It is our part now to restore, preserve and protect our culture not only because it is our past, or because it is unique or beautiful or about intangible traditions but our cultural heritage is our identity as it represents our values, belongings, our strength, continuity and our pride,” Lyngdoh said.
“Cultural heritage is a treasure and our children need to learn about and to keep for the following generations. It is the connections between the past and future, a part of history to understand correctly and learn from,” the Assembly Speaker added.
Calling upon everyone to join hands to protect and preserve our cultural heritage, Lyngdoh said, “When we rescue and protect our heritage, it is the same as when we protect our children, both carry parts of our souls and our ancestors’ spirits.”
The Assembly Speaker also called for efforts to preserve and promote the cultural heritage of every community since they play an important role in building a bridge of peace within society and bringing people closer together and also generating income for the government and in developing the community around it.
It may be mentioned that the 100 Drums Wangala Festival is the post-harvest festival of the Garos, consisting of various thanksgiving rituals followed with merrymaking, music and dance.
Celebrated on low-key note this time, however, the audience were mesmerised by the unison beat of the 30 drums as young maidens presented the traditional dance while warrior chieftains led the troupes onto the field.